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Expert advice on early superannuation access as a result of COVID-19

Posted on April 2, 2020 by admin

Under the coronavirus stimulus package released and revised by the Australian Federal Government on 22 March 2020, individuals in financial trouble due to the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 will be able to access their superannuation funds early. However, while the option is available, it is recommended that individuals only consider withdrawing from their super in the case of absolute emergencies and treat it as a last resort.

With the new rules on superannuation, workers whose incomes are reduced by at least 20% due to the COVID-19 outbreak are allowed to take $10,000 out of their super for the 2019-20 financial year and another $10,000 for 2020-21. Individuals will also not need to pay tax on any withdrawn amounts and existing welfare payments will not be affected either.

While the introduced early access to superannuation funds may be inviting for newly unemployed workers, it is important to consider whether the temporary relief is necessary and worth foregoing super funds available for long term investment. For example, even when accounting for Australia’s slowing economy in the coming years, $10,000 is predicted to be worth over $65,000 in another 30 years.

Especially for younger workers who are less likely to have access to other savings, the choice to give up future savings for current comfort is a difficult one. Experts instead are recommending Australians to apply for the other payments and benefits made available to vulnerable Australians through the coronavirus stimulus package, such as added $550 fortnightly supplements to Australians on JobSeeker payments and other welfare recipients and pensioners.

Experts also predict that the Australian Government will introduce more stimuli for increased cash flow in the Australian economy and more payments for unemployed, struggling and vulnerable Australians in the case of COVID-19 becoming more of a serious economic issue. Hence, withdrawing funds from your superannuation account should be considered a last resort and not for the sake of unnecessary temporary relief.

In addition to being allowed early access into individual super funds, superannuation minimum drawdown rates will also be temporarily reduced by 50% for account-based pensions and others similar until 2021.

The Government has also reduced the upper and lower social security deeming rates by a further 0.25 percentage points, with upper at 2.25% and lower at 0.25% which will come into effect on 1 May 2020.

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How to support your employees through COVID-19

Posted on May 18, 2020 by admin

Supporting your employees during chaotic times as an empathetic leader will improve your relationships within your business and boost personal confidence. Here are some ways you can support your employees mentally and financially during these uncertain times.

Be open with your employees
As businesses implode due to current economic circumstances, employees want transparency and closure over the state of the business and their employment. Thus, being open about your business’ finances and both your short-term and long-term growth initiatives when communicating with your employees will earn their trust and appreciation.

Being transparent over your employees’ job security is also a good idea, as unemployment is becoming a major concern for all Australians. Reassuring your employees and guaranteeing their safety will also boost productivity levels and business morale as a major source of anxiety is lifted off of their shoulders.

Take mental health seriously
You can support your employees’ mental health by encouraging a healthy work-life balance (especially if they are working from home) as well as offering tutorials, professional mentoring sessions and online webinars on mindfulness and effective stress management strategies. Be more lenient with your employees who are struggling with productivity due to mental fatigue and enforce healthy lifestyle habits.

Another way to protect your staff’s mental health is to give all your employees financial advice and education, even if they are not struggling financially at the moment. Let them know that you care for their livelihood and can support them with constructive guidance.

Take care of your staff’s physical health
Taking care of your employee’s physical health as well as their mental health will also relieve your employees’ stress levels and give them peace of mind when working with you. Allow your employees to work from home whenever possible and provide disinfectants like hand sanitiser and alcoholic wipes in your workspace to reinforce health precautions. Enforce social distancing procedures such as the 1.5m distance rule and strive to eliminate physical health risks related to your employees. It is vital that no employee comes to work if they are feeling sick.

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